We have all been anxious before a conversation or communication at some point in our lives. Nerves can manifest as a knot in the stomach before approaching someone new. Sweaty hands and dry mouth every time you are asked to express your point of view in a meeting. People also suffer from a shaky voice and a racing heart when giving a presentation. Communication apprehension is a general term that refers to the worry or fear associated with actual or potential communication with others.
While the correct amount of anxiety can be beneficial. It helps you feel alert and refines your delivery; too much anxiety impairs your thinking skills and makes your listeners feel uneasy. You have to find your own lower gauge to focus on to overcome these feelings. You have to give your mind something else to do but dwell on your insecurities.
Here are five techniques to help you overcome your fear of speaking:
Pull it out with a jerk
Before you try to speak, take a moment to clear your nerves. Stretch your legs and arms, run in place, rotate your shoulders, wiggle your neck and mouth – anything to get your blood flowing. This allows you to feel calm by relaxing tense muscles.
Take slow breaths
Take a few deep breaths before walking towards the person, then another before you start talking. Inhale slowly through your nose for 10 counts, hold your breath for 10 counts, then exhale slowly for 10 counts. Repeating this several times before getting up to speak helps calm your heartbeat and provides vital oxygen to the brain.
Practice early and frequently. The more closely you can replicate the conversational experience, the more effective your preparation will be. When you practice, stand up and speak openly. Once you’ve done a few takes on your own, you can practice in front of an audience.
Understand your emotions
One method to overcome your fear of public speaking is to become more aware of the warning symptoms of nervousness so you can intervene early. Think of anxiety as a wave. The wave will overwhelm you if you take too long to respond.
Thoughts of personal power
Consider the moments in life that make you feel confident and joyful, as well as the things you’ve done to help others. Consider the people who love and trust you. Consider their happy and loving expressions. Remember the times when you were the big winner – in business, sports or love. This method transforms the energy flowing through your system into positive feelings of physical and spiritual power.
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